GET GREEK!: Style Stars, Sweet Treats, and Snapshots from the 2013 GFFD

Thank you for making the 57th Annual Greek Food Festival of Dallas a delicious success! We’re thrilled to reveal our top ten snapshots from the awe-inspiring weekend, because our 2013 event was more than worthy of a photo finish!

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Marchella Simon (center) makes new friends during Opa! Hour.

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You’re never too young to get your Greek on!

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Traditional Greek dancers have everyone donning smiles.

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D Magazine’s SideDish swooned for our baklava sundae!

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Girl time gets shady at the GFFD.

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Friday night revelers get in the swing of things during Opa! Hour.

Stylish Greek fashion on display at the Agora.

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Young performers shine on from the festival’s main stage. 

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Did you enjoy our lovely loukoumades?

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Festival volunteers kick it up, Greek-style!

Now that the 2013 festival is a wrap, don’t forget to stay connected with the GFFD year-round through FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, because we’re already counting down to our 2014 event. OPA!

GET GREEK!: It’s FINALLY Festival Time … Are You Ready to Get Your Greek On?

We are! With less than a few hours ‘til kick off, we’re sharing some last minute tips to make the most of your experience at the 57th Annual Greek Food Festival of Dallas.

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FRIDAY | 9.27

  • Go: All night long; doors open at 4 p.m. and the party doesn’t stop until 11 p.m.
  • Do: Opa! Hour from 5 to 7 p.m., where guests will sip, shop, and see-and-be-seen while getting in the swing of things with a performance by Jagger from 102.9 NOW. And did we mention that revelers will have the chance to win a new car courtesy of Central Kia?! You can snag raffle tickets on site or by calling the GFFD hotline (972.233.4880) to take home the big prize, and since Opa! Hour attendees receive half-price admission, you’ll have plenty of extra cash to put toward the contest! 

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SATURDAY | 9.28

  • Go: From morning ‘til evening, because festival hours last from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Do: Start your day with a stop at the Kaffenio for coffee, refreshing frappes, irresistible Loukoumades, and other pastries, and continue your immersion in Greek classics at the Hellenic Culture Center, where kids and adults can learn more about our heritage. Score a late lunch at the Festival Feast, where you’ll find mouth-watering traditions like Chicken Oreganato, Keftethes, Spanakopita, and Tiropita, and let the good times roll into the evening by sampling imported Greek wines and beers that’ll have you shouting “Opa!”

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SUNDAY | 9.29

  • Go: For Sunday Funday during the festival’s final hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Do: Take in one last round of traditional Greek folk dancing and spirited taverna-style music before picking up creations by talented artists and artisans at the Agora Marketplace. End the three-day event by treating yourself to Cooking Demos that’ll leave you inspired to Get Greek! long after the festival ends; just don’t forget to go home with a few flavorful foods and spices from The Pantopolion to make sure you can replicate your favorite delicacies. 

Don’t have your tickets yet?! Don’t worry; you can still snag passes online or at the door. To keep up with every moment of the 2013 GFFD, join us online via our websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages. 

OPA! MOMENTS: Check Out Our Sweet Feature on Daily Candy!

With barely 24 hours to go until the Greek Food Festival of Dallas gets underway, the annual event is officially a media must-have, and we’ve given fans a sneak peek at this year’s food, fun, and fabulous entertainment during appearances on KTXD’s The Broadcast and Fox 4’s Good Day. But the digital darlings at Daily Candy just made our kick off even sweeter by ranking the GFFD among Big D’s must-do events in The Weekend Guide!

Don’t miss our turn in Daily Candy’s spotlight, and don’t forget you’ve still got plenty of time to snag festival passes online for the awesome event. Join us tomorrow, September 27, through Sunday, September 29, to make some "Opa!" moments of your own!

GREEK EATS: The GFFD Introduces a Seriously Superior Slider!

The festival fun gets underway in less than three days … do you have your tickets yet?! Snag your passes online now or purchase them at the door, but either way, don’t miss the 57th Annual Greek Food Festival of Dallas’ three-day bash this weekend, September 27 to 29. 

While the annual event offers an incredible abundance of things to do, chic people to see, and treats to eat, we’re especially excited for our new culinary arrival - lamb sliders! Get the scoop on the great Greek dish with a delicious recipe from Martha Stewart.

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THE INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 Lbs. ground lamb
  • 0.25 C. minced onion
  • 0.25 C. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 t. chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 Six-inch portions of pita bread
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • 2 Sliced beefsteak tomatoes

THE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine lamb, onion, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl
  • Gently form mixture into 16 small patties, less than one-inch thick
  • Grill patties until medium-rare, two to three minutes per side
  • Warm pitas on the grill or directly over a gas burner, turning occasionally
  • Halve pitas and stuff with burgers, lettuce, tomato, and Tzatziki sauce (see below for details)

THE SAUCE 

  • The Ingredients: 0.75 C. peeled, seeded, grated English cucumber; 0.5 C. plain yogurt; 2 t. fresh lemon juice; 2 t. chopped fresh mint; 1 minced garlic clove; salt and pepper to taste
  • The Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use

Want even more delicious festival news? Connect with the GFFD online through our websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages. 

FAMOUS FACES: Shine On with the GFFD’s Culinary Stars

The Greek Food Festival of Dallas is the culmination of the efforts of proud Greeks across the Dallas metro, but we couldn’t pull off the momentous occasion without the bold businesses that support our annual event. Today, we’re turning the spotlight on our sponsors by introducing you to some of the famous eateries that help the GFFD honor the Greek in all of us. 

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WOODLAND’S AMERICAN GRILL

  • Famous Faces: Frank Lloyd Wright, the legendary architect who inspired the restaurant’s chic space. 
  • The Dish: Crafting upscale American cuisine, the Grill is known for its filet mignon, served on a bed of mashed potatoes with fresh asparagus and mushrooms.
  • Find It: In Dallas’ Preston Hollow area at 6073 Forest Lane; connect with the venue online via Woodlands-Grill.com and on Facebook.

 BURGER HOUSE

  • Famous Faces: Owners Christopher Canellos and Angelo “Sonny” Chantilis, Jr. 
  • The Dish: Fans of the laid-back, old-fashioned hangout can’t get enough of the restaurant’s award-winning hamburger with a side of seasoned fries.
  • Find It: In various locations around the metroplex, including Burger House’s original home at 6913 Hillcrest Avenue in Dallas; connect with the venue online via BurgerHouse.com and on Facebook and Twitter
  • Famous Faces: Owner Frank Mihalopoulos. 
  • The Dish: The Shack’s notable Santorini cocktail has loyal patrons lining up, as does the restaurant’s chilled seafood salad and fried pickles.
  • Find It: In Plano at 700 East 15th Street; check out the Shack online via FishShackPlano.com and on Facebook
The GFFD is less than one week away, and we invite you to visit our newly redesigned website to snag your passes for the three-day event, happening September 27 to 29! You can also connect with the festival online anytime via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

INSPIRED BY: A Decade of Baking with the “Pastry Sisters”

Did you know that revelers will buy and bite into more than 40,000 traditional pastries during the Greek Food Festival of Dallas? Get to know three women whose sweet culinary skills set the delicious scene, as we introduce you to the elite bakers behind the event. 

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MEET THE SWEETHEARTS: Angie Austin, Tony Davrados, and Eleni Papathanasiou, affectionately known as the “Pastry Sisters,” have headed the herculean task of baking for the GFFD for the past 10 years.

THE FESTIVAL FAMILY: The sweet siblings credit their mother for inspiring their commitment to volunteerism and for connecting them to the festival from an early age. Each fall, the sisters team up for the GFFD’s pre-event “Baking Days,” where they lead the creation of Greek pastries that reflect their heritage. Relying on recipes that have been handed down through many decades, the girls’ current concoctions combine tradition with their own tried-and-true tweaks and tricks. According to the talented group, the most rewarding part of the task is having the opportunity to share their top-secret baking techniques with the next generation. 

BEHIND THE SCENES: The thousands of pastries prepared for the GFFD come together over the month leading up to the three-day festival, and the sisters spend most of September in the kitchen, leading teams of 80 to 100 parishioners as they lend a hand during six cherished “Baking Days” at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. When their deliciously rigorous shifts conclude, they will have created an array of enviable eats including koulouria, paximathia, sesame cookies, kourambiethes, fenekia, and baklava. While bakalava is typically a festival frontrunner, the “Pastry Sisters” claim kouramiethes – the powdered-sugar covered dough balls – are a close second. 

The GFFD is less than one week away, and we invite you to visit our newly redesigned website to snag your passes for the three-day event, happening September 27 to 29! You can also connect with the festival online anytime via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

AT HOME WITH: Stirring up Good Times with Grecian Cocktails and Culture

No celebration of Greek culture is complete without the country’s signature drink – Ouzo! With the Greek Food Festival of Dallas less than 10 days away, we’re celebrating the National Drink of Greece and getting the party started with a lesson in prepping, serving, and mixing the famed libation. 

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STIRRING UP TRADITION: It’s easy to host an at-home ouzo tasting, because the only mixers necessary are ice and water! Prepare a traditional ouzo offering as follows:

  • Fill a cold glass with ice
  • Pour in 2 to 2.5 ozs. ouzo
  • Add water to taste, and watch as your clear ouzo turns milky white when the anise oil in the liquor meets the chilled water
  • Serve guests a small, salty snack like fried zucchini or olives alongside the cold ouzo
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WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: Indulge your inner party animal by stirring up a Greek Tiger; make sure you’ve got orange juice and fresh limes on hand to prepare the simple cocktail as follows: 
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with a healthy helping of crushed ice
  • Add 1 part ouzo to 4 parts O.J. and shake thoroughly
  • Squeeze fresh lime juice to taste 
  • Serve the Greek Tiger in an old-fashioned glass, garnished with a twist of lime peel
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GREEK-ISLE STYLE: Sail away with the Greek Matter Scatter, which blends ouzo with island-inspired ingredients including white creme de cacao and coconut rum; prep the delicious beverage as follows: 
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with a healthy helping of crushed ice
  • Add 1/2 oz. ouzo, 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao, and 1/3 oz. coconut rum; shake thoroughly
  • Serve the Greek Matter Scatter in an old-fashioned glass and garnish with your choice of tropical fruit
For even more great Greek fun, we invite you to visit our newly redesigned website to snag your passes for the three-day event, happening September 27 to 29! You can also connect with the GFFD online anytime via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

OPA! MOMENTS: The Meaning Behind the Party-Starting Phrase!

At the Greek Food Festival of Dallas, the term “Opa!” defines our annual opening night celebration, and we’ll be kicking off the festivities Friday, September 27, with our Opa! Hour bash from 5 to 7 p.m. With the big event just four days away, we’ve done a little investigating to discover the many ways can you say - and use - the party-starting phrase. Get ready to Get Greek!, because we’re teaching you how, when, and where to apply the popular shout out to sound like a native. 

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Performing his hit “Opa!” as Greece’s official entry in Eurovision’s 2010 song contest, entertainer Giorgos Alkaios offered his own interpretation of the term

  • The Real Deal: “Opa!” was originally used to declare attention-grabbing party fouls like dropping a glass or breaking plates, as per Greek tradition, and the English translation could loosely be considered an equivalent to “Whoops!” or “Oops!” 
  • The Lifestyle Translation: Alex Pattakos, a Greek-American columnist for Huffington Post, defines the term broadly as the practice of "The Opa! Way." Pattakos writes, “A single definition for this commonly used word or expression does not exist. However, we can all agree that the word refers to something that is inspiring, uplifting, exciting …  George Passes shared the following perspective on what ‘Opa!’ really means in everyday life: We Greeks know that the word touches the core of our being, because it conveys the Greek spirit, the kefi, the independent spirit, the celebration, the joy, that which gives us the feeling it is great to be alive, and ‘Opa!’ is important enough to have it at any cost.
  • The Contemporary Call: Writing for GoGreece.com, contributor deTraci Regula explained the current expression of “Opa!” noting, “It is used now as a call for attention, an invitation to join in a circle dance, or a cry as the flame is lit on the saganaki - a melted cheese dish that is traditionally flambéd at the table by the waiter.”

For even more fabulous Greek fun, we invite you to visit our newly redesigned website! You can also connect with the GFFD online anytime via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

GET GREEK!: Attend the Greek Food Festival in Style with Our Hellenic How-To Guide

While we can’t wait to Get Greek! with the legions of loyal fans who return to our event each year, we revel in welcoming festival first-timers! If you’re among our many new fans and followers for the 2013 Greek Food Festival of Dallas (GFFD), we’ll help you get going - and get dressed - for the delicious three-day bash with our handy how-to guide. 

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Find out how you can be among the GFFD’s well-heeled guests!

SCORING TICKETS: Taking place September 27 to 29, the GFFD supports Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church‘s ministries, community outreach, and youth programs, and you’ll be helping the organization’s innovative initiatives when you purchase your general admission tickets for adults ($6) and kids (free, 12 and under) online now or by calling 972.233.4880; passes will also be available upon arrival. The festival’s awesome food vendors accept cash, coupons (available for purchase on site), and in some cases, credit cards; be sure to check out our website for detailed information on payment requirements at the event’s indoor and outdoor areas. 

GETTING THERE: Hosted by Holy Trinity, located at the intersection of Hillcrest and Alpha Road in Dallas (13555 Hillcrest Road; Dallas, Texas, 75240), you can find directions to the GFFD from anywhere in the metroplex online or by calling 972.233.4880. The festival also makes parking a snap with multiple options including: valet for $10 (at Holy Trinity); self-parking for $5 (atTemple Shalom Synagogue, directly adjacent; Friday and Saturday only); and complimentary off-site parking with bus service (at Brinker International, southwest corner of Hillcrest and LBJ Freeway). Handicapped parking is also complimentary and is available on campus at Holy Trinity. 

ROCKING OUT: Live bands, traditional Greek folk dancing, spirited taverna-style music, and of course, a little plate smashing, keeps the rock-and-roll revelry going at the GFFD. Party on near the center stage where the Festival Dancers bring traditions from throughout Greece to life, and follow the beat onto the dance floor to channel your inner Zorba! Ready to raise a glass? Don’t miss the event’s annual opening soiree, Opa! Hour, on Friday, September 27, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; enjoy half-price admission, visit with Jagger from 102.9 NOW, and get giveaways while they last!

DRESSING UP: The festival’s Agora Marketplace is known for great artisan goods and fab finds for your home - and your wardrobe. But if you want get chic before you Get Greek!, we recommend hitting Holy Trinity’s website for links to retailers offering uniquely Grecian accessories. Among our top picks - heavy-metal chains and charms and peacock-printed scarves and wraps from Skete.com

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Score Greek style at Skete.com: Red enamel cross, $5; drawn cable chain, from $23.50; Byzantine cross, $8; trefoil two-side cross, $11.

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Wrap up in style with peacock-printed scarves in a variety of colors, from $39.50; available via Skete.com

For even more fabulous Greek fun, we invite you to visit our newly redesigned website! You can also connect with the GFFD online anytime via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

FAMILY TIES: Celebrating the Greek in ALL of Us!

In its 57th year, the Greek Food Festival of Dallas is a longstanding tradition that continues to draw a crowd of Greeks and non-Greeks alike! Regardless of heritage, foodies, fashionistas, and fun seekers from around Big D flock to the annual event to celebrate culture and culinary adventure, and today, we’re introducing you to the GFFD family by revealing a few of our favorite festival moments.

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Held annually at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Hillcrest Road, the festival welcomes friends and families to stay up late to take in the sunset, relax, and enjoy the revelry!

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Opa, indeed! Dance performances are a highlight of the festival, and in addition to the scheduled appearances by the Trinity Hellenic Dancers and many musicians, there are plenty of opportunities for attendees to kick up their heels and Get Greek! 

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Introducing new generations to great Greek cultural experiences is one of the event’s sweetest traditions, because many of today’s festival organizers grew up attending the festival each fall. 

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Local bloggers including Neki Bosh (near left) of They’re Just Clothes and social media maven Miranda Bond (far left) can be spotted perusing the GFFD’s Agora Marketplace for  jewels, dresses, and home decor by Dallas artisans.  

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Local Greeks share their family recipes onstage throughout the festival, divulging the secret ingredients and methods that have been passed down to them over generations. After learning how to cook your favorite Greek entrees and sweets, you can head over to the festival’s Pantopolin to purchase the spices and oils you’ll need to replicate them at home, and if you want the delicious dish on the recipes presented, simply purchase a cookbook to get the details on our delectable Greek staples like grape leaves, gyros, baklava, and more.

For even more fabulous Greek fun, we invite you check out our newly redesigned website! Ticket sales for the 2013 Greek Food Festival of Dallas are now open online, and we can’t wait to welcome you to this year’s event! In the meantime, you can connect with the GFFD online anytime via Facebook and Twitter, and coming soon, Instagram!